Smoking Shelter Regulations

Smoking Shelter Regulations

With rightful focus on non-smokers health and well-being, the government implemented the smoking ban to make all public spaces smoke free zones. This also applied to places of work that were either fully or partially enclosed regardless of what time of day the workplace is open. In short, when building an outdoor shelter there are numerous Smoking Shelter Regulations to be aware of.

Although not essential, for most businesses there became a necessity to provide smokers with a safe designated area. This will provide both employees and visitors with a safe area to smoke, without impacting anyone else. In some cases, organisations opted to implement a total ban of smoking on site for both employees and visitors.

The importance of having a smoking or vaping shelter

There is no legal obligation to provide a designated smoking area, although having one will no doubt have its benefits.

The following factors may give you a valid reason for installing one:

  • There is peace and mind in knowing where on site your smoking employees or visitors are likely to be without causing discomfort to non-smokers who may be exposed to second hand smoke.  This in turn should reduce complaints.
  • Cigarette litter or cigarette butt ends are contained in one area and the litter can further be reduced by installing a suitable cigarette bin or ashtray.
  • Main areas on site in particular entrances are not crowded with smokers further reducing noise and fumes. These may be unpleasant, especially to visitors.  

Design structure of a smokers or vapers shelter

Structures can vary in design with the main emphasis being focused on some sort of roof that will keep you protected from the elements in particular rain.

In most cases smoking area outbuildings are commonly made up of a steel frame. In addition to having back and side screens in the form of clear plastic sheets which can provide adequate protection. Specifically, considering the extensive amount of rainfall and high winds common in most parts of Britain.

The shelters can be either free standing and bolted to the ground or be in the form of a canopy that is fixed to the wall. An important factor to consider is that the structure cannot be substantially enclosed. It specifically needs to have at least 50% open area to be compliant.

Scope of the Smokefree area Regulations 2006

Nearly all public places that are enclosed or substantially enclosed must be smoke free.  

Premises will be “enclosed” if they have a ceiling or roof, and except for doors, windows or passageways are wholly enclosed. Whether on a permanent or temporary basis.

Or Premises will be substantially enclosed if they have a ceiling or roof, but there are permanent openings in the walls which are less than half of the total wall area. For instance, this includes other structures that serve the purpose of walls and constitute the perimeter of the premises.

When working out the area of an opening, no account can be taken of openings in which doors, windows or other fittings can be opened or shut. In fact, this is known as the 50% rule.

Smoking Shelter Regulations Put simply:

  • If an area has no roof, smoking will be permitted within it and no further calculations will be needed. This is provided that adjoining walls, structures etc. do not restrict air movement.
  • If 50% of the walls or more are missing, then it is legal to smoke in the area
  • If more than 50% of the walls are present, then it is illegal to smoke in the area. It should be noted that any shelter which is ‘substantially enclosed’ will be required to be smokefree. This is in accordance with the Health Act 2006 and the Smoke-free (Premises and Enforcement) Regulations 2006.
  • In fact, this was subsequently extended to include smoking in vehicles carrying children under the Health Act 2016. This is along with similar legislation exists in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Will I need planning permission for a smoking shelter

In most cases planning permission is also required prior to the installation of a sheltered area. Whether the structure is free standing or connected to part of an existing building. If unsure about planning, you can seek advice from the planning team at your local authority or council.

There are no legal requirements on how far a smoking shelter should be from any other structure. However, as a recommendation we advise it be at least 2 metres away from other structures, as there may be ventilation issues if it’s too close to a building. You may receive complaints if it is too close to any entranceways or windows which could take in second hand smoke or fumes from a vape device.


Promoting Awareness

  • Employers have a responsibility to educate employees about smoking regulations and the importance of compliance.
  • Clear policies should be established regarding smoking breaks, designated smoking areas, and consequences for non-compliance.
  • Local authorities are responsible for enforcing smoking regulations and may conduct inspections to ensure compliance.
  • Non-compliance with smoking regulations can result in fines and penalties for businesses and individuals.
  • Encouraging smoking cessation programs and providing support for employees who wish to quit smoking can complement smoking shelter regulations.


Maintenance and Cleanliness:

  • Smoking shelters should be regularly maintained to ensure cleanliness and safety.
  • Proper disposal facilities for cigarette butts and ash should be provided to prevent littering and fire hazards.
  • Regular cleaning schedules should be implemented to keep the shelter and surrounding areas tidy.


Our involvement and smoking shelter product & services

Ever since the UK Smoking Shelter Regulations came into effect in July of 2007, we have worked with our chain of experienced steel fabricators on various design adaptations. This is in order to come up with the best solutions of smoking shelters.

Tamstar have a wealth of experience in advising both existing and new customers of the importance and possible reasons to choose the right smoking shelter solution. Specifically the solution that will conform with current regulations. Along with prioritising their needs on the type of option that would be best suited to quality and budget.

For further details on our products please either view our website product pages. Alternatively, contact one of our experienced sales team who would be more than happy to help with your enquiry.

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